By Howard Packowitz
BLOOMINGTON – If comments from a pair of federal lawmakers from Illinois are any indication, President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats are far from coming to an agreement on border security to re-open the government.
Central Illinois Republican Congressman Darin LaHood went on social media urging lawmakers to negotiate an agreement to address what he described as the “humanitarian crisis” at the southern border.
LaHood accused Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of playing political games to “please the most extreme corners of her base.”
Meantime, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s number two Democrat, said on the Senate floor that he’s all for border security, but a wall won’t stop drugs like the deadly opioid painkiller fentanyl from coming across the border at legal points of entry.
“If the president would stop preaching about his almighty wall and take a look at real border security, he’d be doing what’s necessary to stop this fentanyl and these drugs coming into this country, and we’re not doing enough,” Durbin said.
“I’m not worried about a president keeping a campaign promise that didn’t make sense from the start,” the senator also said.
Congressman LaHood blasted Durbin for “playing politics” by visiting the Peoria Ag Lab earlier this week, highlighting the shutdown’s impact on federal workers there who might not get a paycheck.
According to LaHood, Durbin’s central Illinois trip was “shameful political maneuvering at its cynical worst.” LaHood said Durbin should have been in Washington trying to break the impasse.
“Since being elected to Congress, I have worked in a bipartisan manner to support and assist the Peoria Ag Lab and ensure that the lab is protected from budget cuts. My advocacy for the Ag Lab and its employees will remain a priority,” LaHood said in a statement issued Monday. “However, this government shutdown could be ended tomorrow if Congressional Democrats would support funding for border security, which they have supported in the past. I still do not understand why Speaker Nancy Pelosi recessed the House and sent everyone home last Friday morning. We should be working every single day in Washington DC to reopen the government. I urge Democrats to get serious about finding a solution to the crisis at the border and get back to Washington so that we can open the government.”
Howard Packowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org